The SmarK Rant for Extreme Championship Wrestling – 01.23.96
Taped from Philly
Your host is Joey Styles
Rob Van Dam v. Axl Rotten
And we’re joined right away with the ECW debut of Rob Van Dam, who I guess is the former WCW jobber “Robby V”. I don’t know much about him otherwise. Axl makes fun of Rob’s karate poses and hides in the ropes while Rob shows some kicks. Rob, or “RVD” as I’ll call him for short, gets a quebrada for two and works him over with shoulderblocks in the corner before hitting a rolling chop to the gut for two. Axl beats on him in the corner and hits him with a pumphandle slam as the crowd turns on this RVD kid and cheers for Axl instead. Axl with a clothesline as Rob does the flipping sell and Axl keeps doing the crane pose. Come to think of it he DOES look like a fatter Johnny Lawrence as a grownup. RVD fights back and SWEEPS THE LEG…
…before tossing Axl and hitting a tope. “The fans are warming up to his kid” lies Joey as the fickle drunken idiots boo him out of the building. Back in, Rob with a standing moonsault for two, but Rotten fights back with forearms, and then misses a charge. Rob slams him and hits the split legged moonsault to finish at 6:12. The crowd still boos him. Maybe he should go back to WCW and he can be “Mr. Monday Night” instead? LOL. I’m hilarious. 1 for 1.
Meanwhile, we recap some stuff from recent weeks, complete with weird Buzzfeed headlines on the screen, set to some kind of generic Mortal Kombat background music, so god only knows what they had to purge from that one.
Last week, Beulah reveals her pregnancy, although sadly the baby disappeared into the ether of dropped storylines before she could deliver it.
Taz v. Hack Myers
I’m not sure what Taz’s generic music replacement is aping here. If he was using “War Machine” in 1996, wouldn’t they just substitute his soundalike WWF theme from 2001? Bill Alfonso is wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey in some kind of 1996 reference to the footballs that means nothing to me. I’m assuming the Dallas football team beat a Pennsylvania football team in some kind of football match and thus the fans would be mad about it? Hack works the arm to start and Taz takes him down with a judo trip and tries for an armbar, but Hack makes the ropes. Taz rolls him into a side headlock and Myers makes the ropes again and then fights back so the crowd can do “Shah shah shah” for a bit before Taz takes him down again. Hack fights back, but Taz isn’t playing along with the gag and just suplexes him on his head to shut up the crowd. I like that Taz is “legit” and so he subverts the silly nonsense and just destroys guys. Another suplex, this time a release german right on Myers’ neck, and the Tazmission finishes at 3:40 and the Philly morons have nothing to say about that, reduced to booing him like and chanting for Sabu like (gasp) WRESTLING FANS. How gauche and beneath them that kind of behavior must have been. What a brilliant character Heyman devised with this guy and it’s too bad he was done as a wrestler before Samoa Joe came along. 2 for 2. And then Taz says that Sabu isn’t coming because he’s a coward, and he just wants to tell everyone in Philly to fuck off.
Joey notes that later on we’re going to take a special look at the WWF ripping off ECW’s extreme direction, although whatever that was supposed to be is removed from this episode.
Sabu v. Stevie Richards
We’re JIP with this match from House Party 96, as Stevie runs away and hides behind Meanie on the floor, so Sabu dives onto both of them. Clipped to Sabu hitting Stevie with a sunset flip to the floor, and then we head back in the ring for Stevie hitting a powerbomb. Then it’s clipped to Sabu putting Stevie through a table at ringside, and Paul E. tosses Stevie back in for two. Stevie with a small package for two. Sabu with a rebound clothesline for two, but Stevie counters a second attempt with a Steviekick for two. And finally Sabu puts him away with the Arabian facebuster at 4:09 aired. Seemed like a decent match. 3 for 3.
Joey returns to get a little bit catty, noting that Sandman won the ECW World title in a three-way involving Steve Austin, “the master of the ring”, and the belt is one “you can’t buy for a million dollars”. Their little cheapshots might have been funny for about 5 minutes at the time, but it sure made them look little league in the long run.
Meanwhile, we finish with a series of Pulp Fiction promos (including Beulah noting that Tommy’s “higher purpose is much bigger than Raven’s”) . The PItbulls also threaten to go to the Eliminators’ house and take out their mama, and Saturn replies that if they want a shot at his mama, it’ll cost them $25 like everyone else. Ouch, self burn. And we finish with Shane Douglas offering Tommy Dreamer a chance to team up with him against Cactus and Mikey at the Arena, on the condition that whoever wins a single title first gives the other one the first shot. Well they certainly didn’t win the tag team titles that night, I know that much.
At only 36 minutes long, they definitely cut some stuff out of this episode, but it sure flew by as a result.